Drivers tackle the boredom -- and the Car of Tomorrow -- at Daytona testing
Daytona testing a cure for insomnia? Not quite. NASCAR's annual rite of winter is often a drag for the drivers, but the results can be invaluable, writes David Newton.
- "I said, 'Well, it can always be worse. I'll get back in,'" Bowyer said. Testing at Daytona often is boring for the drivers who do little more than hold the car wide open around the 2.5-mile track. Even in the Car of Tomorrow, making its debut here, this can be a cure for insomnia. But it was a necessary evil to determine how the new car would handle in the draft, whether blistering on tires would be a problem and how much horsepower is necessary to be a contender for the 50th running of the Daytona 500 next month. "It's all for a good cause," Bowyer said. "It still is boring." Not all were bored during two-and-a-half days of testing that will be duplicated next week for the other half of the Sprint Cup series field. Two-time defending champion Jimmie Johnson had more fun than usual learning to handle the car over the bumps and tight corners that will make this a totally different experience than last year's COT race at Talladega. "We've had more input and outcome of how our car is going to be set up than I ever have here," he said. "So I actually have enjoyed the test." He should. His car, as well as those of Hendrick Motorsports teammates Casey Mears and Jeff Gordon, was the fastest off the truck. The three were near the top of the speed charts in drafting as well, which has to send fear into the rest of the garage after HMS won half of the 36 races a year ago. "This Car of Tomorrow, it's going to be a whole new world for all of us, especially taking it to the bigger tracks," said Johnson, referring to the car that will be fully implemented this season. "You'd think after Talladega we would have enough sorted out to come here and everything would be fine, but it's been a handful and I'm really excited about that. "It's going to help teams like the 48 that sort through problems, that sort through that stuff. It's going to give us a bit of an advantage."[+] EnlargeAP Photo/John RaouxDaytona testing is giving four-time Cup champ Jeff Gordon a chance to warm up to the Car of Tomorrow.
Lowdown on Daytona testingWho surprised? Who disappointed? Get all the news and results from this week's NASCAR Sprint Cup testing session at Daytona International Speedway. Jayski
It's much better than what I anticipated. I will be honest, it was fun out there for sure. The thing I like about it is there's a lot more opportunities to pass now.
-- Jeff Gordon
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